Can One Person Use A Two-Person Kayak? Here’s The Right Answer

Yes. One person can definitely paddle a two-person kayak. But don’t be deceived; solo paddling a tandem kayak is not recommended and has a unique set of difficulties.

Can one person use a two-person kayak? is a common question.

Kayaks have typically been single-person watercraft. In the past, if you wanted to go kayaking with a friend, you needed a kayak for each of you.

Yes. One person can definitely use or paddle a two-person kayak. But don’t be deceived; solo paddling a tandem kayak is not recommended and has a particular set of difficulties.

Using a longer paddle than usual, potentially using a rudder, and paddling in open water while avoiding narrow streams and swift rivers are all necessary when paddling a two-person kayak by yourself.

That leads us to ask: Can a two-person kayak be used by only one person? For your benefit, we will devote this entire tutorial to addressing that specific query.

Can One Person Use A Two-Person Kayak
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A Day Spent With Water Is Never Waste of Time…!

We’ll also offer some advice on how to paddle a tandem kayak more comfortably if you’re just one person. It’s not particularly complicated, but if you’re new to the concept, we have some advice that may be useful.


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Why Would You Decide To Use /Paddle A Two-Person Kayak Alone?

You might give solo kayaking in a two-person tandem kayak a shot for a number of good reasons. You just don’t have access to the boat you truly need, however that isn’t the case for all of those reasons. Typically, paddling a two-person kayak by yourself is a temporary fix.

Advantages of One Person Using A Two-Person Kayak

There are actually a number of reasons why a single paddler could want to paddle a tandem kayak. So before we go any further, let’s have a look at some of the advantages of doing so.

Advantages of One Person Using A Two-Person Kayak
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It’s the only boat you have, and your partner isn’t available.

Perhaps you really wanted to go to the lake early on Sunday, but your significant other was sound asleep. For meaningful time together on the water, the two of you invested in a tandem kayak. (I assume you first read How to Paddle a Tandem Kayak (and Avoid Opposition, Mutiny, and Divorce) in my essay.)

You’re now constrained to a tandem kayak and some alone time. That being said, trying to steer a two-person kayak by yourself is still an excellent cause.

You Desire More Stability

The portion of the hull of a tandem kayak that is in touch with the water is very large. Additionally, two-person kayaks are often wider than their single-person equivalents. Because of this, tandem kayaks do feel more stable. This is especially valid for primary stability, or the initial steadiness one feels upon getting into a kayak.

Okay, so you want to go kayaking with your dog.

This justification really speaks to me. Give your dog a spot at the front of your kayak so they can spend quality time together on the waterworks if your best friend is one of man’s best friends.

Obviously, there are a lot of factors to take into account if you want to go kayaking with your dog, but putting him in the front seat of a tandem kayak might be a fun activity.

You Want More Storage Or Extra Legroom

If we’re being honest, taller paddlers can struggle with any sort of kayak. If you are significantly taller than 6’5″, you may have to squeeze your feet up on the sides of your partner’s seat in a tandem kayak or simply try to fit in the cockpit of a sit-inside single kayak.

Taller paddlers can benefit much from selecting a tandem kayak and solarizing it. For this purpose, sit-on-top designs typically work best because they offer maximum legroom.

What Would Prevent You From Individually Paddling A Two-Person Kayak?

Disadvantages of One Person Using A Two-Person Kayak :

For all the reasons you could decide to paddle a tandem kayak by yourself, you’ll run into a lot of difficulties.

There are benefits and drawbacks to paddling a two-person kayak by yourself, just like with most things in life. So before we continue, let’s quickly go through some of the drawbacks. This won’t be as much of a problem if you spend most of your paddling time on still lakes or slowly flowing rivers.

But this lack of flexibility will be a big problem for people who want to kayak on swift water or fish in smaller creeks and streams.

Difficulty with weight distribution

If your tandem kayak’s seat positions are fixed, you’ll have to deal with a weight distribution issue once you get inside.

Your boat’s “trim” (running angle) will be off if you opt to sit in the back, which is a good idea because all of your weight will be there. In other words, your tandem kayak will have the front end up high and the back end sitting deep in the water, making it resemble a motorboat.

Of course, everything relies on your weight and the weight restrictions on your boat. However, in this circumstance, paddling will not be safe or effective.

Difficult To Maintain The Speed of The Kayak

Additionally, if you are the sole one in your party trying to paddle a two-person kayak, you will discover that it will be more difficult for you to keep up with the other members of your group. After all, these kayaks are made to be propelled by two paddlers seated in the cockpit at strategic angles.

When you first start kayaking by yourself, you’ll quickly see how your paddle shaft’s angle (relative to the water’s surface) affects how much force you can generate with each stroke.

You can produce greater force by paddling at a steeper angle, or one that is more perpendicular to the water’s surface.

When casual touring is being done, optimizing the power of each stroke is typically not as important, so a lower paddle angle (i.e., closer to parallel with the surface of the water) is used.

The reason we bring this up is that when you paddle a two-person kayak by yourself, you frequently have to sit in the middle of the kayak rather than in one of the slightly smaller spots toward the bow or stern.

Due to the possibility of having to adjust your paddle stroke by reaching out over the gunwales, it will be slightly more challenging to obtain a higher paddle angle. This ultimately makes it more difficult to maintain your speed when paddling a tandem kayak alone.

Tandem Kayaks Are Less Flexible

Turning is tough with long kayaks. Maneuvrability is less of an issue if your travels take place on large, open bodies of water.

As you might guess, a tandem kayak paddled by one person is probably not the ideal option for traversing tiny rivers and creaks, particularly fast-moving ones.

Which Alternatives Do You Have?

There are inflatable kayaks on the market if you wish to paddle by yourself. You may customize the seat of an inflatable kayak to suit your preferences. That implies that it is simple to convert it into a solo kayak.

When you’re trying to paddle by yourself in a two-person kayak without an adjustable seat, safety is a major concern. You’ll need to paddle more than you normally would because a tandem kayak is designed for two people.

How Should A Solo Rider Sit In A Tandem Kayak?

I always sit in the back seat and store my belongings in the front. It is intended to equally distribute the weight on both sides. My dog Max and I occasionally go on walks. He sits in the driver’s seat so I can easily control and supervise him. The strong wind will produce an opposing force if you don’t sit in the front seat and put the weight there. That implies that the kayak will tip over.

What Purpose Does A Tandem Kayak Serve?

Tandem kayaks are made to fit two persons. It is made so that you may teach a beginner how to kayak. It’s a fantastic way to begin the trip. Once you understand it, you can try riding by yourself. To paddle a tandem kayak at its top speed, two individuals are needed. In a tandem kayak, the two paddlers must cooperate with one another. You will lose control of the kayak if you paddle more slowly than your companion does.

How to Set Up A Tandem Kayak for a Single Paddler

The procedure of setting up one of the best inflatable kayaks for a single paddler will be very easy if you get one of the kayaks designed for two or three people. You should be able to remove one seat and move the other toward the middle of the cockpit, as seen in the picture above.

If the rigid, sit-on-top kayak has the third seat that can be added in the middle, the procedure is essentially the same. Simply place your seat in the middle of your kayak’s cockpit by using the central anchor points on the gunwales.

Best Tandem Kayaks For Individual Kayakers or Paddlers (One Person)

1. Intex Excursion Pro

Amazon’s Choice ✅

Intex Excursion Pro

The best tandem kayaks for individuals. One of the greatest (and most reasonably priced) tandem inflatable kayaks available is this one. Inflatable seats that are simple to adjust for one or two paddlers are provided.

One of the few inflatables on the market with footrests integrated into the cockpit floor is this one. Instead of keeping your legs flat on the kayak‘s floor the entire time you paddle, doing this will assist you to maintain a more ergonomic and effective paddling stance.

2. Ocean Kayak Malibu Two

Ocean Kayak Malibu Two Tandem Sit-On-Top Recreational Kayak

When I was a guide, we always used this tandem kayak for heavier paddlers. With the optional third seat in the middle, it is simple to configure for a single paddler.

In order to accommodate paddlers of different heights, it also has a wide design (34 inches across) and a lot of molded-in footrests. This kayak is 12 feet long and has a maximum weight capacity of 425 pounds.

Despite having limited storage capacity, your gear can be secured to the boat using the straps in the bow and stern. Consequently, this kayak is best suited for quick, leisurely paddles on calm lakes, leisurely rivers, or even safe coastal waterways.

3. Advanced-Elements-AdvancedFrame-Convertible-Inflatable-Kayak


This kayak is an excellent choice for solo or tandem cruising. Due to its 15-foot length, you will have plenty of room for all of your kayak camping gear to be stored in it. It will also paddle pretty well over long distances.

It is built with three heavy-duty PVC tarpaulin layers for increased tear and puncture resistance. Additionally, it is one of the few inflatables with a coaming around the cockpit’s edge that enables you to connect the best kayak spray skirt for paddling in cold weather.

How To Paddle A Two-Person Kayak With Just one Person

What can you do to improve your chances of having a good experience alone paddling a two-person kayak?

Seat Adjustment

If you can, adjust the seat so that it is in the middle. Well done if you had the foresight to buy a tandem kayak with movable seats. In 23 seconds, many of your issues can be resolved.

Slide the back seat up to the middle of the kayak to the extent that your seat locations are movable. Better weight distribution will be possible as a result, and the lopsided trim issue that can make your tandem kayak appear like a long, narrow motorboat will also be resolved.

Use A Larger Paddle

Well done if you’re fortunate enough to own a tandem kayak with adjustable seats.

The new position of your kayak seat, in the middle of the kayak, is wider than the former placement, which is one of the difficulties you might notice. Your paddle stroke can become shallower and less effective as a result of this.

In this situation, a longer paddle might be advantageous. This will help you get used to making shallower strokes without reaching for the water and wobbling, which could happen if your paddle was shorter. With a longer paddle, you might be able to maintain more vertical power strokes without losing balance by leaning too far over the edge of the kayak.

Add Ballast (weight) To The Kayak’s Front

It’s possible that you bought a tandem kayak with a hard shell, or at the very least, one whose seats can’t be adjusted. If so, not all is lost.

You do, however, have a weight distribution issue that needs to be resolved in order to restore balance to your trim. Add some weight to the front of your kayak to achieve this.

It might need to weigh at least 50 pounds more. You can utilize water bottles, which are buoyancy-neutral, or some other densely weighted object.

Put the weight as close to the bow’s tip as you can. Put the weight in the farthest reaches of the kayak if you’re paddling a hard shell, sit-in kayak.

Use Open River Only

We already spoke about this, but it bears repeating. Undoubtedly, one person can competently paddle a two-person kayak.

However, if you fit this description, you will probably succeed across huge expanses of open water that have few risks and don’t require any evasive maneuvers.

What Matters More When Utilising A Two-Person Kayak?

For using a two-person kayak, there are many rules that must be adhered to.

Keeping The Balance

The tiny, blade-like design of the one-person kayak is particularly appealing. It is simpler to control and manoeuvre. Due to the kayak’s small weight and one-person design, paddling is very simple.

One person using a two-person kayak, however, causes a minor issue. Typically, tandem kayaks are longer than single-paddle kayaks. It contains more than meets the eye.

A Day Spent With Water Is Never Waste of Time…!

It is heavier as a result. The two-person kayak is difficult to drag along with anything heavier. It’s possible to have a difficult time navigating the kayaks, but eventually, your working skills come into play.


You need expertise everywhere you go. Our perspectives are broadened, and we approach work in new ways. You can utilize a two-person kayak if you have sufficient kayaking knowledge.

If anything happens, you know how to run through something and balance the kayak. That ensures your safety. But. Going over kayaking would be to fault if a novice becomes disoriented when operating a two-person kayak.

Fishing or Angling

When it comes to fishing, one person using a two-person kayak is advantageous. You can take fishing staff there since no one is using the other space.

Although the kayak is hefty and difficult to maneuver, it is a huge aid when it comes to fishing. You can start fishing while you are standing nearby.

You will probably have something in the other area to stop any irregularities if any problems arise.

Conclusion For Can One Person Use A Two-Person Kayak

In the end, there is no doubt that the answer to this important issue of Can One Person Use A Two-Person Kayak is


The activity of kayaking has always been fun and calming. It is the only form of blessing that applies to people of all ages.

Whether you paddle alone, with friends, in a one-person kayak, or a two-person kayak, all you or we need is to enjoy a special time while kayaking.

If you intend to use a two-person kayak, exercise caution and care for yourself. Whatever the new age brings, maintaining good health is always the top priority.

I hope you found this blog about Can One Person Use A Two-Person Kayak informative and entertaining. If you discover something incorrect or obsolete (pricing not mentioned, as it is always changing :), please leave a remark below and I will correct it as soon as possible. Thanks for reading this article.

Happy Individual Kayaking! 🎣🚣🏻

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